Genotypic characteristics of Chinese patients with BHD syndrome and functional analysis of FLCN variants.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) is an autosomal dominant disease featured by lung cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax, fibrofolliculomas and renal tumors. The causative gene for BHDS is the folliculin (FLCN) gene and more than 200 mutations have been reported in FLCN, mostly truncating mutations. The aim of this study is to better characterize the clinical features and mutation spectrum of Chinese BHDS patients and to systematically evaluate the effects of non-truncating mutations on mRNA splicing pattern. METHODS:We enrolled 47 patients from 39 unrelated families with symptoms highly suggestive of BHDS after informed consent and detailed clinical data were collected. Exon sequencing followed by multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification testing were applied for mutation screening. The effects of non-truncating mutations, including 15 missense mutations and 6 in-frame deletions, on mRNA splicing were investigated by minigene assays. RESULTS:A total of 24 FLCN germline variants were found in 39 patients from 31 distinct families. Out of these patients, 100% (36/36) presented with lung cysts and 58.3% (21/36) had experienced spontaneous pneumothorax. Seventeen mutation carriers had skin lesions (47.2%, 17/36) and 9 (30%, 9/30) had kidney lesions including 8 with renal cysts and 1 with renal hamartoma. Among all detected variants 14 (58.3%, 14/24) were novel, including 11 variants classified to be pathogenic and 3 variants of uncertain significance. None of 21 non-truncating mutations changed the mRNA splicing pattern of minigenes. CONCLUSIONS:We found different clinical features of Chinese BHDS patients compared with Caucasians, with more lung cysts and pneumothorax but fewer skin lesions and malignant renal cancer. Chinese patients with BHDS also have a different mutation spectrum from other races. Non-truncating mutations in FLCN did not disrupt mRNA splicing pattern, in turn supporting the hypothesis that these mutations impair folliculin function by disrupting the stability of the FLCN gene product.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS), which is also called Hornstein-Knickenberg syndrome (HKS), is a hereditary autosomal dominant disorder caused by germline mutations in the folliculin gene (FLCN, NM_144997). More pulmonary manifestations (pulmonary cysts and recurrent pneumothoraxes) but fewer skin fibrofolliculomas and renal malignancy are found in Asian BHDS patients compared with other BHDS patients. The atypical manifestation can easily lead to a missed or delayed diagnosis. Here, we report a Chinese family with BHDS that presented with primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP) and extensive pulmonary cysts in the absence of skin lesions or renal neoplasms. Next-generation sequencing (NGS) was used to sequence the FLCN gene, and Sanger sequencing was carried out on the samples to confirm the presence of these variants. Among the 13 family members, a novel frameshift variant of FLCN (c.912delT/p.E305KfsX18) was identified in seven individuals. This variant has not been reported before. Bioinformatics analysis showed that the novel variant might lead to a premature stop codon after 18 amino acid residues in exon 9, and this may affect the expression level of FLCN. The identification of this novel frameshift variant of FLCN not only further confirms the familial inheritance of BHDS in the proband but also expands the mutational spectrum of the FLCN gene in patients with BHDS.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Birt-Hogg-Dubé Syndrome (BHDS) characterised by skin fibrofolliculomas, kidney tumour and pulmonary cysts/pneumothorax is caused by folliculin (FLCN) germline mutations. The pathology of both neoplasia and focused tissue loss of BHDS strongly features tissue-specific behaviour of the gene. Isolated cysts/pneumothorax is the most frequent atypical presentation of BHDS and often misdiagnosed as primary spontaneous pneumothorax (PSP). Deferential diagnosis of BHDS with isolated pulmonary presentation (PSP-BHD) from PSP is essential in lifelong surveillance for developing renal cell carcinoma. METHODS:The expression profiles of microRNAs (miRNAs) in cystic lesions of PSP-BHD and PSP were determined via microarray. The selected upregulated miRNAs were further confirmed in the plasma of an expanded cohort of PSP-BHD patients by reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR). Their diagnostic accuracy was evaluated. Moreover, the cellular functions and targeted signalling pathways of FLCN-regulated miRNAs were assessed in various cell lines and in the lesion tissue contexts. RESULTS:Cystic lesions of PSP-BHD and PSP showed different miRNAs profiles with a significant upregulation of miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p in PSP-BHD. The combination of the two effectively predicted BHDS patients. In vitro studies revealed a suppressive effect of FLCN on miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p expressions specifically in lung epithelial cells. The ectopic miRNAs triggered epithelial apoptosis and epithelial transition of mesenchymal cells and suppressed the reparative responses in cells and tissues with FLCN deficiency. CONCLUSION:The upregulation of miR-424-5p and let-7d-5p by FLCN deficiency occurred in epithelial cells and marked the PSP-BHD condition, which contributed to a focused degenerative pathology in the lung of PSP-BHD patients.
Project description:The folliculin gene (FLCN), also known as BHD, is the only known susceptibility gene for Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome. BHDS is the autosomal dominant predisposition to the development of follicular hamartomas, lung cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax, and/or kidney neoplasms. To date, 53 unique germline mutations have been reported. FLCN mutation detection rate is 88%. FLCN encodes a predicted 579-amino acid protein, designated folliculin that is highly conserved between humans and homologs in mice, Drosophila, and C. elegans. We developed the first online database detailing all FLCN variants identified in our laboratory and reported in the literature. The FLCN database applies, and assists researchers in applying HGVS nomenclature guidelines. To date, the FCLN database includes 84 variants: 53 unique germline mutations and 31 SNPs. The majority of FLCN germline mutations are predicted to produce a truncated folliculin, resulting in loss of function. The FLCN mutations consist of: 45% (24/53) deletions, 32% (17/53) substitutions (10 putative-splice site, 5 nonsense, and 2 missense), 15% (8/53) duplications, 6% (3/53) insertion/deletions and 2% (1/53) insertions. The database strives to systematically unify current knowledge of FLCN variants and will be useful to geneticists and genetic counselors while also providing a rapid and systematic resource for investigators.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) is a rare disease with autosomal dominant inheritance that manifests through skin tumors, pulmonary cystic lesions, and renal tumors. A mutation of FLCN located on chromosome 17p11.2, which encodes a tumor-suppressor protein (folliculin), is responsible for the development of BHDS. We report the case of a patient presenting with spontaneous pneumothorax, in whom a familial genetic study revealed a novel nonsense mutation: p.(Arg379*) in FLCN.
Project description:Germline mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene are associated with the development of Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS), a disease characterized by papular skin lesions, a high occurrence of spontaneous pneumothorax, and the development of renal neoplasias. The majority of renal tumors that arise in BHDS-affected individuals are histologically similar to sporadic chromophobe renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and sporadic renal oncocytoma. However, most sporadic tumors lack FLCN mutations and the extent to which the BHDS-derived renal tumors share genetic defects associated with the sporadic tumors has not been well studied.BHDS individuals were identified symptomatically and FLCN mutations were confirmed by DNA sequencing. Comparative gene expression profiling analyses were carried out on renal tumors isolated from individuals afflicted with BHDS and a panel of sporadic renal tumors of different subtypes using discriminate and clustering approaches. qRT-PCR was used to confirm selected results of the gene expression analyses. We further analyzed differentially expressed genes using gene set enrichment analysis and pathway analysis approaches. Pathway analysis results were confirmed by generation of independent pathway signatures and application to additional datasets.Renal tumors isolated from individuals with BHDS showed distinct gene expression and cytogenetic characteristics from sporadic renal oncocytoma and chromophobe RCC. The most prominent molecular feature of BHDS-derived kidney tumors was high expression of mitochondria-and oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS)-associated genes. This mitochondria expression phenotype was associated with deregulation of the PGC-1?-TFAM signaling axis. Loss of FLCN expression across various tumor types is also associated with increased nuclear mitochondrial gene expression.Our results support a genetic distinction between BHDS-associated tumors and other renal neoplasias. In addition, deregulation of the PGC-1?-TFAM signaling axis is most pronounced in renal tumors that harbor FLCN mutations and in tumors from other organs that have relatively low expression of FLCN. These results are consistent with the recently discovered interaction between FLCN and AMPK and support a model in which FLCN is a regulator of mitochondrial function.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder characterised by fibrofolliculomas, renal tumours, pulmonary cysts and pneumothorax. The pulmonary cysts and repeated episodes of pneumothorax are the clinical hallmarks for discovering families affected by the syndrome. This disorder is caused by mutations in the gene coding for folliculin (FLCN). FLCN forms a complex with FLCN-interacting protein 1 (FNIP1) and FNIP2 (also known as FNIPL), and the complex cross-talks with signalling molecules such as 5'-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Heterozygous Flcn knockout mice and rats with Flcn gene mutations develop renal cysts, adenomas and/or carcinomas. These findings suggest that FLCN functions as a tumour suppressor that inhibits renal carcinogenesis. However, the mechanisms of the formation of pulmonary cysts and pneumothorax associated with heterozygous mutations in FLCN are poorly understood. Resected lung specimens from patients with BHD are often misdiagnosed by pathologists as non-specific blebs or bullae or emphysema, and patients with BHD who have pulmonary cysts and repeated pneumothorax frequently do not receive appropriate medical investigations. This review discusses the clinical and pathological features of lungs of patients with BHD, focusing on the diagnostic pathology and possible mechanisms of cyst formation.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé (BHD) syndrome, a hereditary renal cancer syndrome caused by mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene, is characterized by the presence of fibrofolliculomas, pulmonary cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax, and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). Few BHD syndrome cases have been reported in Asian countries, and cutaneous presentations are relatively rare in Asian patients. Asian BHD patients may be misdiagnosed due to their atypical manifestations. Here, we report two Chinese BHD patients with novel FLCN mutations (c.946-947delAG in exon 9 and c.770-772delCCT in exon 7). Both of them had RCC and spontaneous pneumothorax without fibrofolliculomas. In patients with RCC and pulmonary cysts but without cutaneous lesions, screening for mutations in the FLCN gene should be performed, especially for those with a family history of RCC or pulmonary cysts (pneumothorax).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHDS) (MIM 135150) is an autosomal dominant predisposition to the development of follicular hamartomas (fibrofolliculomas), lung cysts, spontaneous pneumothorax, and kidney neoplasms. Germline mutations in BHD are associated with the susceptibility for BHDS. We previously described 51 BHDS families with BHD germline mutations. OBJECTIVE:To characterise the BHD mutation spectrum, novel mutations and new clinical features of one previously reported and 50 new families with BHDS. METHODS:Direct bidirectional DNA sequencing was used to screen for mutations in the BHD gene, and insertion and deletion mutations were confirmed by subcloning. We analysed evolutionary conservation of folliculin by comparing human against the orthologous sequences. RESULTS:The BHD mutation detection rate was 88% (51/58). Of the 23 different germline mutations identified, 13 were novel consisting of: four splice site, three deletions, two insertions, two nonsense, one deletion/insertion, and one missense mutation. We report the first germline missense mutation in BHD c.1978A>G (K508R) in a patient who presented with bilateral multifocal renal oncocytomas. This mutation occurs in a highly conserved amino acid in folliculin. 10% (5/51) of the families had individuals without histologically confirmed fibrofolliculomas. Of 44 families ascertained on the basis of skin lesions, 18 (41%) had kidney tumours. Patients with a germline BHD mutation and family history of kidney cancer had a statistically significantly increased probability of developing renal tumours compared to patients without a positive family history (p = 0.0032). Similarly, patients with a BHD germline mutation and family history of spontaneous pneumothorax had a significantly increased greater probability of having spontaneous pneumothorax than BHDS patients without a family history of spontaneous pneumothorax (p = 0.011). A comprehensive review of published reports of cases with BHD germline mutation is discussed. CONCLUSION:BHDS is characterised by a spectrum of mutations, and clinical heterogeneity both among and within families.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is a rare autosomal dominantly inherited disorder caused by germline mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene. Clinical manifestations of BHD include skin fibrofolliculomas, renal cell cancer, lung cysts and (recurrent) spontaneous pneumothorax (SP). All clinical manifestations usually present in adults > 20 years of age. CASE PRESENTATIONS: Two non-related patients with (recurrent) pneumothorax starting at age 14 accompanied by multiple basal lung cysts on thoracic CT underwent FLCN germline mutation analysis. A pathogenic FLCN mutation was found in both patients confirming suspected BHD. The family history was negative for spontaneous pneumothorax in both families. CONCLUSION: Although childhood occurrence of SP in BHD is rare, these two cases illustrate that BHD should be considered as cause of SP in children.
Project description:Birt-Hogg-Dubé syndrome (BHD) is a rare, autosomal dominant disorder characterized by the development of hair follicle tumors, renal tumors and pulmonary cysts. BHD is caused by heterozygous, predominantly truncating mutations in the folliculin (FLCN) gene located on chromosome 17, which encodes a highly conserved tumor suppressor protein. Although management of renal tumors of low malignant potential is the primary focus of longitudinal care, pulmonary manifestations including cyst formation and spontaneous pneumothorax are among the most common manifestations in BHD. Due to the lack of awareness, there is commonly a delay in the pulmonary diagnosis of BHD and patients are frequently mislabeled as having chronic obstructive lung disease, emphysema or common bullae/blebs. A family history of pneumothorax is present in 35 % of patients with BHD. Certain imaging characteristics of the cysts, including size, basilar and peripheral predominance, perivascular and periseptal localization, and elliptical or lentiform shape can suggest the diagnosis of BHD based on inspection of the chest CT scan alone. Recurrent pneumothoraces are common and early pleurodesis is recommended. A better understanding of role of FLCN in pulmonary cyst formation and long term studies to define the natural history of the pulmonary manifestations of BHD are needed.